Four hundred disabled veterans begin arriving at the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport this week to participate in the annual National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in Aspen and Snowmass. The Community volunteers, the airport and local airlines are geared up to receive them, many of whom arrive at the airport in wheelchairs.
“We always look forward to this event at the airport,” said Aspen/Pitkin County Airport Director, John Kinney. “It gives us a chance to greet these special men and women in person and to spoil them a little during their weeklong stay in our community.”
According to the DAV Winter Sports Clinic website “Veterans with spinal cord injuries, visual impairments, amputations, traumatic brain injuries and other severe disabilities are challenged to overcome perceived limitations through adaptive skiing, sled hockey, scuba diving, rock wall climbing, education and other activities.”
Special vans and buses from other communities are transported to Aspen and Snowmass for the event to move the vets from venue to venue. Local volunteers help unload and load vets in wheelchairs from aircraft and host them during their visit.
“It’s a proud spectacle at the airport when the vets arrive and depart. It challenges the airlines to safely get them on and off the planes and to transport their sometimes very specialized wheelchairs without damage. It’s a group effort and everyone at the airport is enthusiastic and available to pitch in. I can’t thank all involved enough” Kinney said.
The Winter Sports Clinic runs from March 31st through April 5th in Aspen and Snowmass.
Media Contact: John Kinney - Airport Director - 970-429-2853